Evolution Group Uses Federal Tax Money to Promote Religion

SEATTLE, APRIL 1 — The federal government has spent nearly a half-million dollars on a website that encourages science teachers to use religion to promote evolution, sparking objections that the website violates the separation of church and state.
Unveiled earlier this year, the Understanding Evolution website was jointly developed by the National Center for Science Education (NCSE), a private group whose self-described mission is “Defending the Teaching of Evolution in the Public School,” and the University of California Museum of Paleontology. The avowed purpose of the website is to help teachers teach evolution better. Much of the website was funded by a $450,000 grant from the National Science Foundation.

One part of the website explicitly uses religion to promote evolution. In that section, teachers are told that nearly all religious people, theologians, and scientists who hold religious beliefs endorse modern evolutionary theory, and that indeed such a view “actually enriches their faith.” Teachers are also directed to a page on the NCSE’s own website containing statements by religious groups endorsing evolution. For example, teachers can read a statement from the United Church of Christ that “modern evolutionary theory… is in no way at odds with our belief in a Creator God, or in the revelation and presence of that God in Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit.”

“This is a scandalous misuse of federal tax dollars,” says Dr. John West, Associate Director of the Center for Science and Culture at Discovery Institute. “It’s clearly a violation of the First Amendment’s Establishment Clause. What business is it of the government to tell people what their religious beliefs about evolution should be? And what does this have to do with teaching science?”

West noted the stunning hypocrisy of the current situation. “Darwinists have a lot of chutzpah. They go around the country attacking anyone who wants to present scientific criticisms of Darwin’s theory as unconstitutionally promoting religion, but here they explicitly use religion to promote evolution in the schools, and that’s supposed to be OK?”

West details the problems with the federally-funded website in an article in the April 1st edition of National Review Online (

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Discovery Institute promotes thoughtful analysis and effective action on local, regional, national and international issues. The Institute is home to an inter-disciplinary community of scholars and policy advocates dedicated to the reinvigoration of traditional Western principles and institutions and the worldview from which they issued.